Social Entrepreneur and Businesswoman Dr. Raye Mitchell Honored with Women's Initiative's 2011 "Woman Entrepreneur of the Year" Award

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"Dr. Raye Mitchell is a woman who makes things happen! She has the persistence and a fierce determination to succeed," commented Ann Fudge, former Chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands. "These traits, in combination with her compassion to help others, make her formidable and most deserving of this honor."

Annually, the East Bay Women’s Initiative for Self Employment recognizes San Francisco Bay Area women business owners for their respective professional and civic contributions. During its annual regional awards ceremony on Wednesday, October 19, 2011, the non-profit organization named Dr. Raye Mitchell the 2011 Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in Alameda County, California in recognition of her leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, and philanthropic contributions. The preeminent affair was held in the Lakeside Theater at Kaiser Center in Oakland, CA. Mitchell is CEO of Making a New Reality Foundation and the G.U.R.L.S. Rock Leadership Program. She, who attended University of Southern California Marshall Graduate School of Business and Harvard Law School, guides girls and women of color to be SocialPreneures(TM), defined as individuals applying business entrepreneurial skills, experiences and training to combat social problems and challenges limiting their vision and ability to achieve greatness.

Barbara Jackson, a long-time friend and colleague of Dr. Mitchell’s and former high-ranking executive with a notable international corporation said, “Raye's success comes from a combination of smarts, drive and focus. I believe she came out of the womb knowing that no matter her beginning, her life would be decided by her and her alone.” Jackson continued, “The real joy of knowing Raye for almost 30 years is watching her definition of success evolve. She has moved far beyond defining her success by material achievements to defining her success by how she changes other's lives."

“Dr. Raye Mitchell captures the entrepreneurial spirit of the USC Marshall School of Business, and we salute her many achievements,” said James G. Ellis, USC Marshall dean. “She is an important role model for women entrepreneurs of today, and also of tomorrow, through her powerful and positive message.”

"Women entrepreneurs are one of the strongest economic forces in this country,” said Julie Castro Abrams, CEO of Women’s Initiative. “We want to create a movement that promotes women’s entrepreneurship and makes people aware of the incredible contributions women business leaders make not only to their local communities, but also to economic recovery.” Recent Women’s Initiative research shows that its graduates created or retained more than 4,300 jobs in 2010 alone.

The East Bay Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment recognizes SF Bay Area women business owners who:

  •     Have been successful despite the barriers that exist for women business owners
  •     Exemplify how business ownership and leadership is beneficial for women
  •     Have a positive impact on the local community or the community at large
  •     Advance their business through innovation.

In recognizing the entrepreneurs, Women’s Initiative celebrates the power of small businesses in transforming communities through job creation and economic revitalization. In fact, recent research from Women’s Initiative shows that their graduates created or retained more than 4,300 jobs in 2010 alone.

Approximately 600 women entrepreneurs from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area were nominated; 42 were selected to be honored with the 2011 Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Further information about the awards and a complete list of this year's recipients are available online at

For more than 22 years, Women’s Initiative for Self Employment has been providing low-income, high potential women with the business training, funding and ongoing support to start their own business and becoming financially independent. The women who go through its training significantly increase their income and assets while launching businesses, creating jobs and stimulating the local economy. Women's Initiative operates from five offices and 18 training locations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Dr. Raye Mitchell is the social entrepreneur, author, and speaker. She is a Harvard Law School graduate, graduate of the USC Marshall School of Business and Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellow and recipient of a 2010 Jefferson Award for Public Service.

Dr. Raye is founder of the social impact program, G.U.R.L.S. Rock—a global leadership-training initiative of The Making a New Reality Foundation—a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Mitchell left the law firm she had operated for over 16 years to help train girls of color ages 8-18 in leadership skills and to be global leaders. “G.U.R.L.S.” stands for Growth, Unity, Respect, Leadership, and Success. To learn more about the G.U.R.L.S. Rock Leadership Program, please visit and on FaceBook.


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